I have read many stories on episode, and a lot of them can feature sensitive topics. Often people do not handle these topics well, leading to people being offended and angry, and an overall bad look to your story. Stereotypes like the lgbtq+ hating christian or the thirsty bi-sexual girl can often make people feel hurt or annoyed, and can lead to assumptions about religion, politics, race or sexuality.
To cover a topic that can be considered offensive, you have to be careful and respectful. Here are a couple of tips as to How to write a story which features sensitive topics.
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH
I cannot stress this enough!! Research is so important when writing a story covering sensitive and important subjects! If covering a religion that may be foreign to you, or a country/lifestyle, Do your research! What do they wear? What are their morals? What can they/can they not do?
Here’s an example: Currently I am writing a story with a female muslim character featured. I understood that I needed to honour and respect the culture while featuring this character, so I researched the culture and the way the women dress. I wanted/needed to get the culture right.
Research is of the utmost importance when handling things like this. You need to honour the subject at hand when you write your story.
2. STAY AWAY FROM STEREOTYPES
Also incredibly important! Stereotypes can be hurtful and annoying. The classic ‘All muslims are terrorists’ and ‘All Asian people eat cat’ is so disrespectful. You may think that it adds a little humour to a story but that is not true. You are being disrespectful and being hateful towards another culture. Another common stereotype is the ‘All Christians hate the lgbtq+ community’. That is also promoting hate and changing the way someone may view the christian culture differently because of a stereotype you include.
3. DON’T MAKE TRIGGERING TOPICS A TRIGGER
When writing about mental illness/incredibly traumatic experiences, you have to remember that people with who have experienced these may be reading your story. You should not make a story about a certain issue be triggering to those with that issue! Handle it respectfully, and if you think that a certain scene may be too full on for those who have experienced what is about to happen in the scene, put a warning before the scene commences and give an option for a summary.
Here are some other tips:
- DON’T DISCRIMINATE
Should be obvious, but I have still seen stories which discriminate.
- PROMOTE FRIENDSHIPS BETWEEN DIFFERENT GROUPS
A Jewish girl and a Muslim boy being best friends? Sign me up!
- BE A FORCE OF GOOD
Promote love and respect for topics and people.