According to an article written by Anna of the New York Times, the idea of relatable characters is discussed and two viewpoints are addressed. The first is weather finding relatable characters limits ones' ability to think outside the box, requiring work to be 'accommodating' to the reader, and if it's not, it's dismissed as irrelevant. In retrospect, the other thought is with regard to finding work 'like ones' own life,' as discussed by author Walter Myers. He couldn't find relatable characters in works he read, and the stories also lacked diversity, so he began to write.
“There was something missing. I needed more than the characters in the Bible to identify with, or even the characters in Arthur Miller’s plays or my beloved Balzac. As I discovered who I was, a black teenager in a white-dominated world, I saw that these characters, these lives, were not mine. I didn’t want to become the ‘black’ representative, or some shining example of diversity. What I wanted, needed really, was to become an integral and valued part of the mosaic that I saw around me.”
Kids and young adults need characters that could be them, which validates them and their lives. It's imperative that we have characters that are diverse, and depict the lives kids live today. As a teacher, I have classroom after classroom, full of kids that suffer from broken families and many are also suffering some type of mental illness. Just as it's essential to have characters that are diverse, the nature of the kids emotional well-being, whether they are suffering from ADHD, Autism, Aspergers or Bipolar, they should be represented throughout the stories and novels they read. Often it's through these characters that children find someone they can relate to.
"Part of literature’s power may be in its ability to offer two very different experiences: That of feeling oneself represented, and that of inhabiting the consciousness of someone totally unlike oneself. “Relatability” may not be the best way to describe the former — but whatever you call it, many would argue it’s an experience more readers deserve to have."
My book series is intended to address both issues of finding relatable characters from broken and non-perfect homes, as well as a character that has emotional issues and suffers from bipolar disorder. Also my character is actually half white, black and asian indian, so there's that as well.
Should Literature Be ‘Relatable’?
As a new author, still green to the process of publishing, I've discovered a few tips in the past few months. My social media community has provided valuable feedback, most being Indie authors from London and I've learned the difference between a vanity publisher and traditional; basically I'm still self-published. (Sigh)
I've spent thousands of dollars on the publication of my book, now I realized I could have saved money publishing as an Indie Author. Error noted, I'm currently undergoing a revision, and hopeful I'll get picked up by a traditional publishing company, especially after spending thousands of dollars, learning many lessons and most importantly, becoming a better writer.
Please learn from my mistake, do your homework; there are several great beta -readers on Instagram, Goodreads and through Google Search engines. Don't waste your money with vanity publishing, it hasn't given me an advantage over self-publishing.
My beta readers were extremely helpful and necessary in the process of writing my book. As a first time author, I felt I knew exactly what publishing companies were looking for and was a bit cocky in the beginning. I wasn't involved in beta reader groups or any groups for that matter and was solely traversing the words on pages by myself.
Advice? Make sure you have beta readers, get feedback and listen to it, but heed caution when you feel your "voice" is being tainted with through said advice. That which will make your work better is excellent advice but don't lose yourself in the suggested changes.
I love my community of readers and authors found on Wattpad, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads LinkedIn and Facebook.
My Amazon authors page is full of multimedia, similar to this site but you'll also find my events and reviews from others about my book. If you read my book, please provide a review, as one of the only means for authors to improve recognition as a new author is through Amazon reviews. :)
Reviews, press releases can be found in these links! "Breaking Stigmas" page to find out why I wrote my book!
Current Beta Reader experience:
What I've learned from my Beta Readers -
I'm relieved to have my edits, beta edits and general proofreading done.
...waiting for Line-editing now! Denzel shows my emotion!