Writing x Characters When You Aren’t x, A Masterlist




x: a variable used to represent something unknown.

We’ve seen an influx of questions about how to write stories based around characters of color, disability, non-binary, etc. when the author does not fall into these categories. Rather than have these posts take over the site, we’ve decided to compile a list of resources to help our fellow writers become more educated about writing what they do not immediately know. However, this list is not the end-all-be-all of knowledge; one should always try to learn from someone with first hand experience in any topic. The world is constantly growing and changing, and because of that, there will always be more to learn. The admins at Plotline Hotline want to help writers form respectful, informed, and realistic characters that broaden the narrow range we see in literature today. 

*Be wary that some of the topics listed below contain sensitive material. Reader discretion is advised.* 

As always, the links I found to be especially apt will be in bold. Topics are listed alphabetically, excepting the “other” section.


Appropriate Cultural Appropriation

What is Cultural Appropriation? [1,2,3]

Cultural Appropriation Is, In Fact, Indefensible

Voice Appropriation & Writing About Other Cultures

Diversity, Appropriation, and Writing the Other


Writing Disibilities [1,2,3,4,5]

Guides to Writing Deaf or Hard of Hearding People

National Association of the Deaf – Resources [List]

World Federation of the Deaf

Using a Prosthetic Device

Prostehtic Limbs (Character Guide)

How NOT to Write Disabled Characters

A Guide to Disibility Rights Law (United States)

Timeline of Disibility Rights in the United States

Social Security Disability: List of Impairments, Medical Conditions, and Problems [List] (United States)

How to Write Disabled Characters: An Opinion Piece

Artificial Eye Resources [List][Various]

Adapting to the Loss of an Eye

Misconceptions and Myths About Blindness

Blind Characters: A Process of Awareness

Writing Blind Characters [List]

Types of Learning Disabilities [List]


A Guide to Spotting and Growing Past Stereotypes

How to Prepare to Write a Diverse Book

The Diversity of Writing

Why Diversity Matters for Everyone

Writing a Driverse Book [1,2,3,4,5]

Diversity, Political Correctness and The Power of Language

Diversity Book List [List][Books]

Basic Tips To Write Subcultures & Minority Religions Better 

Basic Tips to Avoid Tokenism


GLAAD Media Reference Guide – Transgender

Creating Well-Written Trans Characters

A Few Things Writers Need To Know About Sexuality & Gender Expression

Trans (Character Guide & Bio Building)

A Non-Binary Person’s Guide to Invented Pronouns

Gender Neutral Writing [List]

Keeping a Trans* Person a Person  

Suggestions for Reducing Gendered Terms in Language [Photo]

How to Review a Trans Book as a Cis Person

Writing Characters of Different Genders [List]

Understanding Gender

Gender Spectrum Resources [List]

Gender History


Writing Chronic Illness [1,2]

The Spoon Theory – Also pertains to disibility


Sexually Transmitted Diseases [List]

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sex and Gender Differences in Health [Study]

All Chronic Illness Topics [List]

Coping with Chronic Illness

All Cancer Types

A Day in the Life of a Home Health Aide/Health Coach

Fiction Books With Chronically Ill Main Characters- Not Cancer [List][Books]

Neurotype (Including Mental Health)

Writing an Autistic Character When You Don’t Have Autism

Depression Resources [List]

What to Consider When Writing Mental Illness

Stanford Psychiatric Patient Care

Inpatient Psychiatric Questions and Tips

Don’t Call Me Crazy [Documentary]

(Avoid) Romanticizing Mental Illness [1,2]

A Day in the Life of a Mental Hospital Patient

State-run vs. Private Mental Hospitals

Mental Disorders

Mental Hospital Non-Fiction [List][Books]

National Institute of Mental Health – Mental Health Information [List]

Writing Autistic

What Causes PTSD?

Remember, Remember: The Basics of Writing Amnesia

ADHD Basic Information

What is a Learning Disability?

What is Neurotypical?


Writing Race: A Checklist for Authors

Transracial Writing for the Sincere

Is my character “black enough”

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Challenge, Counter, Controvert: Subverting Expectations

Writing With Color: Blogs – Recs – Resources [List]

Writing People of Color (If you happen to be a person of another color)

7 Offensive Mistakes Well-Intentioned Writers Make

Description Guide – Words for Skin Tone


Religion in Novels: Terrific or Taboo?

How to Write a Fantasy Novel that Sells: The Religion

Writing About Faith And Religion

From Aladdin to Homeland: How Hollywood Can Reinforce Racial and Religious Stereotypes 


Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity [List]

Writing Gay Characters [1,2,3]

American Civil Liberties Union – LGBT+ Rights

LGBT+ Rights by Country or Territory

History of Gay Rights

Gay Rights Movement

LGBT+ Culture

Gay Myths and Stereotypes

LGBT+ Studies Web Sites [List]

LGBTQ Youth Issues


Overview of Gay and Lesbian Parenting, Adoption and Foster Care (United States)


How Doctors’ Offices—and Queer Culture—Are Failing Autistic LGBTQ People

Five Traps and Tips for Character Development

Developing Realistic Characters

I hope that this list will provide topics a writer may not initially think to research when writing. If there are any resources that you think would be fitting for this list, please let us know! We want to have as many helpful sources as possible to maximize learning opportunities. 

Stay educated,

xx Sarah

@sunigyrl @daytimeheroicsonly @killmongersaidheyauntie

Just to have on hand

Definitely! Will be apart submission guidelines for Sam Sunday @killmongersaidheyauntie @daytimeheroicsonly

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