Tag Archives: Culture

14.33: Writing Imperfect Worlds

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard

How do you write a setting in which the status quo is one with which you deeply disagree? How do you create a conflict of this sort without being overtly pedantic or preachy? In this episode we talk about creating engaging worlds while worldbuilding around—and yes, over—landmines.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Take a wish-fulfillment character, and place them on the lowest rung of the power structure.

The Fated Sky, by Mary Robinette Kowal

14.31: Cultural Setting as Conflict

Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab

In this episode we talk about how to put characters in conflict with their setting, and how to structure our work so that these conflicts arise organically rather than feeling mandated by plot.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and master by Alex Jackson

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Make an entire planet of you. Now create a trading post where people who are NOT you must find ways to interact with the world of yous.

14.21: Writing The Other — Yes, You Can!

Your Hosts: Dan, Tempest, and Dongwon

The single most asked question we get on the subject of writing cultures other than our own is some variation on “can we even DO this anymore?”

Short answer: YES, YOU CAN.

Our objective with this episode is to encourage you to put in the work, do the research, and write outside of your culture or personal experience. At risk of sounding cliché, it’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

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Your homework is to show that you’ve done your homework. Make a list of the things you’re going to do (or have done) to properly research writing the other.

My Sister Rosa, by Justine Larbalestier, narrated by David Linsky

14.12: Writing The Other — Latinx Representation

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, Tempest Bradford, Dongwon Song, and Julia Rios

Julia Rios joins us to talk about writing characters who come from one of the many Latin-American cultures or subcultures. “Latinx” is a catch-all term for people with Latin-American heritage, including mixed-race people. In this episode we talk about mash-up cuisine, intersectionality, and how to navigate the subtleties to find the specific cultural elements which will help you create Latinx characters.

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

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Research and then write a meal scene in the POV of a person from a specific culture.

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, by  Carlos Hernandez

14.03: World of Hats

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard

Margaret Dunlap joins us during season 14 to talk about worldbuilding. In this, her first episode with us, we talk about worlds in which a monolithic culture (like, say, ‘everyone wears hats’) is represented. We cover how to use the trope to your advantage, and how to avoid the trope if it’s going to cause problems.

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Write some monoculture-defying fanfic, in which you add outliers to your favorite world of hats. Like, say, a Klingon belly-dancer, or the microclimate on Hoth where you can grow peaches.

An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir

13.50: What Writers Get Wrong, with Zoraida Córdova

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard, with special guest Zoraida Córdova

Zoraida Córdova, an award-winning author of urban fantasy, was born in Ecuador and grew up in Queens. She joins us to talk about what writers get wrong (and what they can get right and do well) when portraying latinas in the United States.

Credits: This episode was recorded live at FanX Salt Lake (formerly “Salt Lake Comic-Con”) by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Liner Notes: 

  • The comic book Howard referenced is Guardians of Infinity #3, (2016), which features a back-up story entitled “Yo Soy Groot.”
  • Peggy Whitson is the astronaut Mary referenced. As of this writing, she holds the record for longest single spaceflight by an American. 

 

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A challenge! Find (and read) books written by Ecuadoran authors. Then make one of your own secondary characters be from Ecuador.

Labyrinth Lost, by Zoraida Córdova

13.36: Confronting the Default

Your Hosts: Brandon, Amal, Mary, and Maurice

If you live in the northern hemisphere, inland, perhaps above the 40th parallel, you are probably quite sure that there are four distinct seasons. There are, however, many, many people for whom “seasons” are things that happen to other people.

This is the conflict between your default and the rest of the world, and in this episode we’ll talk about confronting your default.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Andrew Twiss, and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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Think about a bird. What makes it a bird? Write down five simple characteristics which make birds birdy for you. Now research birds and find birds that don’t fit your template.

13.33: Reading Outside the Box

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary, Aliette, and Howard, with Kristie Claxton

Kristie Claxton joined us at WXR 2017 to talk about reading outside of the spaces where we’re comfortable and familiar. Specifically, we focused on how to learn about people who are not you by reading stories by and about them.

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

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Who are you? Answer that, and then go on to read  things by and about people who are not you.

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone, by G.S. Denning, narrated by Robert Garson