It’s pretty important when writing children’s fiction that we don’t conform too much to stereotypes. Children are easily influenced, and will take in all the information you give them, from life lessons to social inequalities. If you’re writing for a particularly young audience, be careful not to include anything that might influence your reader towards any subtle prejudice.
Sexism often goes under the radar. Gender inequalities are the easiest thing to let slip by you when writing. Boys are all too often portrayed as the strong and dependent characters, while the girls are more loving, kind, and often more intelligent than the others. These things might seem like natural traits to us, but children can easily pick up these differences as the way things should be, rather than as choices they make for themselves.
Don’t use stereotypes. It seems like a lot of fun to have a Scotsman be an eccentric red-head purely because we’re in the world of children’s fiction, but these are the kind of stereotypes that kids will cling to if given the opportunity, as something they can forever associate with one race, sex, etc. The same goes for family roles; try not to have women always doing the dishes while Dad goes off to work – make sure to mix everything up a little.
Part Two of this writing guide will be coming to you on Friday, don’t miss it!