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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
This is for you folks who started writing the story before you finished building your world. Which is what we wanted you to do all along! Sneaky! We’re talking about letting your story drive your world building efforts, so that you can be more efficient.
We cover some of the tools that we use, as well as when world building fits into, then out of, and then back into our respective processes.
Out of Context Quote: “Sometimes you just need to take the underpants off the puppet.”
Other Worldbuilding Episodes to Reference: Brandon promised a list of links. Here’s a pretty comprehensive one!