15.12: Writing the Other—Being an Ally

Your Hosts: Piper, Tempest, DongWon, with special guest Erin Roberts

What can we do to be allies to members of marginalized groups? Many of us want to find ways to help others have safe, comfortable places within our communities, but worry about coming across the wrong way. In this episode, our hosts talk about how we can do this well as writers, as members of writing communities, and in society at large.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson


Find the most recent story that you’ve consumed. Do two of the following: Leave a review, talk about it on social media, tell someone in person, or tell a bookseller or Librarian

Steel Crow Saga, by Paul Krueger

8 thoughts on “15.12: Writing the Other—Being an Ally”

  1. Really enjoyed the episode. Thanks so all who were involved with it in any way!

  2. “What can we do to further proliferate the bioleninist agenda of the current elite.” If you can only prop yourself up with a coalition of naturally low status people, to the extent that your lifestyle would make you literally die decades earlier than normal people without modern anti-viral drugs, why should we be an “ally.” How about we actually stand for virtue and kick marginalized revolutionary groups to the wayside. That’s not to say we completely shut out and hate people with inborn problems, there is a place for everyone, but glorifying aberration is no way to run a society.

  3. This episode is called Writing the Other so I wish it focused on tips for creating positive *representations* of people from minority and marginalized groups. The real-life situations discussed in the episode are interesting but not what I immediately need as a writer, and not *writing* the other. For most writers there’s less chance to become a part of a community with minorities (regardless of type of minority) than to try to represent them in writing. So how to behave face-to-face is less important than how to positively represent, which was the topic promised by the episode title. I’d like to see another episode with this team focused on *positive representation in writing*, even microaggressions in writing and how to avoid them (the logic behind it, not a list of words to avoid). For instance, I want to write an alternate earth where discrimination is not based on color, gender etc (taken at face value, an utopia) but strictly on financial power (actually still dystopia, just another kind). What are the crucial tips on how to write it such that people discriminated in our world because of their characteristics don’t feel marginalized simply because it’s a different world with different problems? Especially since almost my entire the main cast is POC, non-cis, w/ some disability etc. The episode briefly touches upon writing different worlds with different problems as being a good thing but provides no advice and, if you look at Goodreads reviews on books with different world settings and hence different problems, a frequent comment is that the representation of discrimination is not the same as in our world, hence unrealistic, and therefore the writer only uses such people in their cast as a gimmick since in the book they’re not discriminated (this comment, of course, would presumably depend on specific treatment in each book, but it’s still necessary to know what to do so as not to get there in the first place). One comment that stuck with me was “why write them as x when they all read like white people?” But in another world cultures/mentalities will be different, and even in our world you’d expect variation between how the same person would behave were they raised in a different region of the world. So what happens to these cases and how do you navigate around them? Can the guests recommend books that are examples of success, and can they explain what those books did right?

  4. This week, Writing Excuses was taken over by Piper, Tempest, Dongwon, and special guest Erin Roberts, to talk about good allies in writing the other! What’s a good ally? (Watch out for Leeroy Jenkins!) When do allies miss the mark? Lots of examples and ideas to help you be a good ally. So go read the transcript, available now in the archives.

  5. Thank you for this episode! I’m always looking for new ways to be a good ally, especially within the writing community.

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