best practices character selection

You Say Community, I Say Crowd

Just a tiny word of caution about telling stories starring “the community.” Substitute the word “crowd” for “community” and see how it feels. For example, “Solutions to strengthen the local crowd.” The term is broad and ultimately yields a faceless mob.

Be descriptive.
Do your listener a favor and add descriptors (e.g., the Latinas over age 80 community). Once you have a descriptor in place, your listener will have a group he can picture. Truth is, once you have those specifics articulated you don’t need the word “community” at all.

Fear the crowd.
The best thing to do is to avoid talking about groups, communities, and crowds in stories in the first place. Whether the community is the protagonist or the beneficiary in your story, spotlight an individual who can be the symbol of that community. Save the group talk for your statistics or outcomes reports.

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