I have been working on a treatment for a documentary about my relative Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Studios. It is a big job, but a rewarding one! I am becoming a producer, a filmmaker. In the end, I am sure there will be other producers on this film too...
Anyway, I was having a conversation with my husband, who is helping direct and giving great suggestions, and something I said about "Artists" caught his attention -- and he said:
"You should put that on your blog!" So I am. This is what I said:

Artists need to be connected to people in general and not remove themselves from society too much, because artists -- writers especially -- need to write about the feelings that all humans share. That is what connects us - our ability to feel hate, love, pride, joy, envy and ...passion. All humans love another human beings usually. All feel pride if there child succeeds etc. All feel sadness and lost and dispair when things don't go so well. ART helps. It helps people feel not-alone.

Great Art -- connects to people emotionally because it is about problems that the characters have. So "Go for the jugular!" as my friend who is a literary manager says. Of course, you don't want to be a vampire and manipulate people's emotions in an unrealistic way. At least, I am not in favor of that.

But as Judy Blum said at the 40th SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles: to paraphrase, "If it makes you excited or sad or happy when you are writing your story, others will feel this way too."

Back to my point about removing yourself from society: You may see stars living in mansions, but you don't know where they came from, how they began life. The time that I personally spent hanging out in city parks and talking to homeless people served me very well. And the time I spent travelling and just bumming around is the time I learned the most about people.

The more writers can show interesting, real characters, who triumph over difficult situations, the more they will inspire (and thus sell books!) And these characters come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, from all corners of the globe, in all races, genders, sexual orientations, sizes, weights, heights, levels of intelligence, skin tones, religions, economic backgrounds, and political parties, and cultures.

The more kids grow up reading stories about The Other -- about someone different than them -- someone not as pretty, not as smart, not as fortunate -- the more they will want to grow up and help the build a better world. Because they will Empathize with others who are different from themselves.

What can you to your book to make it more unusual and reflective of society?