I would like to get everyone's thoughts on an idea that was presented to me by one of my beta readers. He was critiquing my mystery set in ancient China, called The Spring and Autumn Murders. While the majority of the criticisms were well founded (he pointed out a major plot flaw ). This idea puzzled me a bit.
Keep in mind, that I am paraphrasing here. My memory doesn't allow for a direct quote this morning.
One of his critiques was that my characters didn't come across as the "typical" Chinese, and that I should put more stuff in that would make people know that they were Chinese. When I asked him for further clarification, he basically indicated that I should use more of the recognized stereotypes when it comes to the Chinese people. For example, they're short, have slanty eyes, are extremely productive, unforgiving, demanding, are excellent in math and science.... etc.
In the story I purposely moved away from the typical western stereotypical view of the Chinese and their culture simply because I wanted to sh
ow that China and its people are much more dynamic and varied than most westerns realize.
But now I wonder, can a stereotype be useful? Does something like describing a typical stereotypical China Doll have it's place in the story? Would it help with the marketability of the book in the long run?
Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.