Write Your Story: The Call for Diversity in Fiction

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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:

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.



Bri is the founder and co-editor of What the Fangirl. She loves chai lattes, Disney and fairy tales.

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