Write Your Story: The Call for Diversity in Fiction
The internet is a great place for aspiring writers. Twitter, while it has its use for seeing cat pictures and keeping up to date with your favorite celebrities, is also a must-visit if you want to be a writer.
Recently I’ve been keeping up to date on the #MSWL hashtag. #MSWL stands for Manuscript Wish List, and is a hashtag used by agents and editors to share the books they want to see; it’s also used for the books they want to represent, in terms of agents (YA, New Adult and more).
We have a lot of discussion about representation in the pop culture world today, and audiences have demanded diverse voices, and for a reflection of the world as it is in our media. From LGBTQIA characters to POC perspectives, the need for marginalized voices has been a cry for years; this need has resulted in some great projects, such as We Need Diverse Books and #OurOwnVoices.The good news, writers? They want your diverse stories. Click To Tweet
Here’s more good news: If you write it, they want it.
Scrolling through the thousands of tweets under the #MSWL hashtag, I was able to see the stories the agents and editors are clamoring for, and you might be able to fill that niche. If you want to be traditionally published, agents and editors are the gatekeepers – they are the individuals that decide what stories are shared in their traditional mass market format. You may see a dearth of gay and lesbian characters, or characters with mental illness, or characters who come from a marginalized perspective….
Guess what? These gatekeepers do too. They want to shatter the wall between lily white heroines and the same retold coming out story – and they’re looking to you.They want stories with diverse characters that are flesh and blood in a variety of genres: historical, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, etc. Click To Tweet
As we work for representation in all forms of media, and strive for characters that have more than one defining characteristic than their skin color or sexuality, know that the gatekeepers are too. We write about how characters need to be more than one stock character, and we strive to champion these diverse stories when we get them, but there can always be more…there needs to be more.
Just look at what they want:
— Shannon E. Powers (@S_E_Powers) July 7, 2016
Coming of age or coming out YA or NA w/LGBTQ immigrant protag dealing clashing values betw modern world and culture & tradition. #MSWL
— Lisa Abellera (@LisaAbellera) July 1, 2016
SF/F where LGBTQ+ is and has always been seen as a natural part of the world. Worlds that don’t reflect our current bias. #MSWL
— Amy Boggs (@notjustanyboggs) June 30, 2016
LGBTQ historical romance. I want to see a historical period/event from this underrepresented perspective. (Must be well researched!) #MSWL
— Alex Y. Arnold (@alexyarnold) June 30, 2016
— Serene (@serenemaria) June 30, 2016
Hero by Perry Moore is one of my favorite novels of all time, period.
— Eric Smith (@ericsmithrocks) June 30, 2016
— Antonica Jones (@AntonicaJones) June 30, 2016
— Alex (@Alex_Borbolla) June 30, 2016
On my #mswl: MG & YA fiction that handles mental illness & its intersections in POC & NA communities with kindness & thoughtfulness.
— Tu Books (@tubooks) June 16, 2016
STEM-focused middle grade or YA, strong female MCs-bonus points for diverse, POC #MSWL
— Lisa Abellera (@LisaAbellera) June 30, 2016
Family stories from diverse perspectives like Williams-Garcia’s One Crazy Summer or Lai’s Listen, Slowly…diverse voices in general. #mswl
— Chris Hernandez (@ChrisCanWrite) June 30, 2016
Historical romance with diverse heroes/heroines. I want to know about the Regency peeps of African/Indian/Jewish (&more!) descent. #MSWL
— Norma (@normajeanesays) June 30, 2016
Still craving domestic suspense with diverse female leads. #MSWL
— Beth Phelan (@beth_phelan) June 30, 2016
— E. Latimer (@ELatimerWrites) July 4, 2016
If you have a story, and you feel there’s a need for a certain type of story…write it. You’re not the only one who wants it. If you’re curious about #MSWL, visit the official website, as you’ll find agents and editors listed with their preferred genres and what they like to see. You can even search by keyword and genre. However, be sure you take notice of their submission guidelines. You’ll stand a better chance at getting your story read – and the world needs that story.