I could not agree more, Sean Stephane Martin.
As a fiction writer, I certainly create characters who are not like me — all the time. If not, my stories would lack true depth and richness.
I write from experience, usually, but I also research.
As a white, middle-aged, gay American, my stories would surely be boring if all my characters were limited to my own characteristics.
I’ve written a novel set in Berlin, Greece, and Tunisia. The horror!
I’ve written short stories in which immigrants living in Montreal speak Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole.
I wrote a story recently in which I featured a mentally disabled man.
Somebody complained that I was somehow “taking up space” that disabled people might otherwise use to tell their own stories — as if writing were a zero-sum game.
If artists were limited to creating based on their own personal characteristics, the world of art would be impoverished, indeed.