Writing Diversity

I’m very big on diversity in writing, particularly when it comes to fantasy and science-fiction. Our dominant, mass-media-driven culture is keen on portraying “normal” (=”good and right”) in very restrictive terms. (I’ve talked about this elsewhere.) With humanity still struggling with our tragic history of hatred and bigotry and many of us trying our best to get past that (unfortunately, far too many seem quite content to wallow in it), value judgements disguised as entertainment only undermine the slow climb towards equality. That said… “political correctness” kills creativity. Before you lynch me or stop reading, please understand. I’m not advocating

Anthropomorphization

anthropomorphize: 1. To endow with human qualities. 2. To attribute human characteristics to something that is non-human. (from wiktionary) I live with four cats who are a fundamental daily part of my life. I know I’m guilty of anthropomorphizing them sometimes, although I make a serious effort to understand them on their own terms, and it’s more often teasing than for real. I’m the admin of a lolcats (and other lolanimals) site, which is heavy on the sincere animal lovers, but a deliberate part of the game involves reading human facial expressions, body language, motivation, thought processes,

Assumptions: Culture and Technology

Along the same lines as my previous post about assumptions, but of a different kind: Why is it that fantasy fiction is, with overwhelming frequency, set in a thinly-disguised version of Dark Ages, or possibly Renaissance, Western Europe? There are exceptions, of course, but this has become a kind of industry standard. Even if there’s no sign of Christianity as such, basic Christian values as understood in the modern mainstream Western world (not the same values as understood in actual medieval Europe) are prevalent. Men have careers and literally wear the trousers; women stay home to mind the fourteen

Assumptions: Gender and Sex

Everyone has basic assumptions about the world around us. We have to; they’re a part of how we keep functioning. When you’re writing, however, and especially if you’re writing speculative fiction of any sort (speculative fiction is an umbrella term for fantasy, science fiction, and anything else that doesn’t fit precisely into either but is nonetheless outside “normal reality”), it’s a good time to take a look at your own assumptions. Speculative fiction is, after all, about transgressing the normal rules. I’m not going to try to give specific instances of these, mainly because there are so many I’ve long

Right brain + left brain = magic

Everyone’s perception of the direct process of creativity is going to be unique to them. I experience it in terms of two halves working together – right brain and left brain, for lack of any terminology that works better. The story itself, the content, often feels like it comes from outside of me; I’m just watching the events, writing them down as rapidly as my hand can move. Characters and setting are there, waiting for me to tap into them, and once I tune in properly, the characters go ahead and do their thing. Friends have many times heard me