Breaking Stereotypes

Forums Fiction Characters Breaking Stereotypes

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #149649

    Hey hey!

    I’m needing some help. I’ve got a character in my historical fiction WIP – a German grandmother in the 1930s, and my mind blanks out when it comes to developing her as a character. Every time I try, she becomes way too stereotypical (i.e. in the opening scene all I can think of her doing is knitting, lol 🤦🏻‍♀️).

    Any ideas are welcome! My brain is clearly done storming at this point… maybe I just need a break.

    Grace Benham



    I’m not sure what type of grandma you’re going for, but I was thinking if you wanted to make her unusual you could just take whatever stereotype you feel like you keep leaning towards and flip it so she’s the exact opposite, if that makes sense.  Also, something else that I’ve found to be super helpful for my characters is using real life people, since they tend to be more realistic!XD So if you have a grandma, or know someone else’s grandma, or just know another elderly lady, you can take their personality and kind of mash it into the character.  Since real people aren’t usually stereotypical, it helps you avoid the clichés.

    Anyway, hope that helps at least a little!

    This is perhaps the greatest risk any of us will ever take: to be seen as we truly are.

    Brian Stansell

    Hi @katie02,

    What if the grandmother is knitting something unusual?  That could break a stereotype.

    Here’s an example:  What if she knits burial shrouds for the local funeral parlor.  She uses her skill to give people a certain dignity in death.  Say she knits an ornate face covering that softens the impact of their deathly repose.

    A stereotype can have enough of a twist about it that it becomes unique that way.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    K. A. Grey

    @katie02  Ooh, you could do a lot with this! 😂 How about a feisty grandma that stubbornly does all the housework around the house even though she’s got arthritis and the family begs her not to?  Or maybe one with dementia that sometimes wanders off and the family finds her trying to flirt with the townspeople, much to their embarrassment.  Or a Groosmutta that looks really boring but actually plays an accordion and is rumored to have gypsy blood in her.

    Hopefully my ideas aren’t too quirky. 😂 Anyway, hope this helps you brainstorm!

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Pin It on Pinterest