In writting diverse characters and languages (Help me avoid stereotypes)

Hey! First post. Wandered in the forum all day and finally signed up.

So, the setting of my story is basically a research center known worldwide, much like CERN, with people of, well, all over the world. The thing is, I’m not a native English speaker, so if there’s an English term or stereotype associated with an ethnicity I’m probably not going to notice and I really don’t want that issue coming over and over if I run a beta-test.

Also, if English’s not your native tongue, could you tell me if it was hard for you to learn how to speak it? And what errors you think you made/make the most? As in, between Spanish and English, the way we make sentences is totally confusing sometimes and kinda easy to mess up (I downloaded Grammarly, I’m a shame). I’ll really like to hear your opinions on this, as I’m not sure where to begin

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First of all, what sort of characters would you be writing, and of what ethnicities? We’d be able to give you more specialized feedback if you have specific characters in mind.

English was not my native tongue, but since people in my country learn it from school, I have a better grasp of the language. I can say that it’s difficult to avoid mixing terms from my native language and English terms, and you will often encounter the problem where you cannot find the English word for a concept in your native language. Also, English grammar is quite odd and especially with complicated sentences, it’s easy to lose track of:

  • subject-verb agreement
  • proper placement of subject and verb
  • difficulties determining direct object and indirect object
  • mix-ups in similarly-spelled words or similar-sounding words
  • figures of speech and slang

Good luck with your game!

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I don’t really have much to say, I just wanted to join the list of people with usernames that are two words that sound similar.

I’m Australian so English is my first language but I live in an area with quite a large Vietnamese population. As such, you’ll hear plenty of Australianisms coming from people named Nguyen or Tran. I.e. my neighbourhood is made up of two stereotypes that had a baby stereotype.

Generally speaking, most characters are archetypes, even the main ones. What makes the good ones interesting is that they will usually have two or more archetypal traits that conflict with each other but are both still essential to making them a person. In other words, it’s not just the cast that’s diverse, the traits of each character are too.

Hope that helps.


I agree, but I also think that stereotype and archetype are two different things. Generally, archetypes are ideas which we form characters from, while stereotype means a flat caricature of a character that is repeated to the point of being irritating or downright harmful. For example, a smart character who solves problems through their intelligence is an archetype, but the bespectacled, acne-covered Asian nerd who has no social life and is not attractive is a stereotype.

Welcome :slightly_smiling_face:


I guess I’m almost a walking stereotype, then. :confused:

Edit: Unusual Opinion:

I personally don’t think hitting stereotypes is all bad. What would a world be without the

The thing is… does your character exist only because of this stereotype? Or do they just happen to coincide?


There’s a stereotype like that? Damn.

I also fit this stereotype :slightly_smiling_face: The bad thing is all smart/Asian/bespectacled/acne-ridden/etc. people having to fit it in order to be considered as smart/Asian/etc.


Depends on what you’re trying to achieve really, to avoid stereotypes would be to say that there’s something inherently wrong about them. But sometimes, having a single-minded character serving a single purpose may actually be more beneficial than some overly complex character that is nearly impossible to comprehend and grasp.

On the other hand, so many stories have been written at this point that probably even the opposite of stereotypes (i.e dumb asians instead of smart asians) have become their own stereotypes so just go with whatever you know will benefit the plot most


Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Chances are, so long as you’re not deliberately trying to offend someone, or portray any race, religion, gender or sexuality in a negative way, most people aren’t going to be offended.

I’m definitely not saying that nobody will be offended. In fact, it’s almost certain that at least one person will find something you write offensive, no matter how unoffensive and politically correct you try to be. Unfortunately that’s just something that’s unavoidable when you’re a writer, or a creator of any kind of entertainment in general. It’s pretty much impossible to please everybody.

For example, if a game contains two gay characters getting married, a religious, conservative person might say, “According to my religion, marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman! I find this scene extremely inconsiderate of my religious beliefs and I suggest you remove it from the game.” In return, a gay person might say, “I think it’s absolutely terrible that some people want to take away a gay person’s right to marry the one they love, and if this scene is removed from the game, I will be extremely offended.”

Pleasing both of these people is impossible, so the only solution is to write what you want to write and accept that some people aren’t going to be happy about it.