New Class: Short Fiction Writing and the Other at the Brainery, Spring 2016

New class! I’m blending some elements of the Writing the Other classes I teach with Nisi with the Short Fiction syllabus I developed for the Brainery.

During the 15 weeks of the class, students will delve deep into learning this sometimes tricky skill through a combination of readings, analysis of published fiction, writing exercises, and developing, writing, and revising stories of their own in a safe, supportive atmosphere.

It starts with laying down a foundation of good writing craft, as many mistakes and pitfalls when writing the Other are born from lack of skill. The class will cover language, description, narrative structure, and plot, then dive deep into characterization, stereotypes and tropes, dialogue and dialect, worldbuilding, cultural appropriation, how to research the Other, and strategies for keeping your wordcounts under 8,000.

In addition to the regular instructor, students will benefit from guest lectures exclusive to this class by authors Nisi Shawl and Max Gladstone. Students will also have the opportunity to get a critique on their final submission from one of these writers.

Classes begin the week of January 25th. All the details at The Brainery.

New Class: Weekend Intensive – The Art of Writing the Other Jan 1 – 3 2016

Another weekend intensive! This time over a holiday weekend, which should help with accessibility.

When: January 1 – 3 (detailed schedule at the link)
Where: ONLINE via Google Hangout
Price: $250 + service fee
To Register: Visit Brown Paper Tickets (Registration opens December 5th)

Miss this class? Sign up for our mailing list to get notifications when we give it again.

New Class: The Art of Writing the Other – Weekend Intensive

When: December 11th 7PM Eastern to December 13th 10PM Eastern
Location: ONLINE via Google Hangout
Price: $250 + service fee
Registration begins: November 6, 2015

This is a new version of our class condensed into a shorter time frame (2.5 days) that also costs less. The material covered in this course is similar to our previous 6 week classes, just heavily concentrated. This class is for writers who cannot commit to regular meetings over several weeks but can devote one weekend.

The class is appropriate for all writers (fiction, plays, comics, screenplays, and games included) from all backgrounds and any skill level.

Please see the registration link for all details, including schedule.

Miss this class? Sign up for our mailing list to get notifications when we give it again.

New Class: Writing the Other Online – Fall 2015

Writing the Other Online Fall 2015 will take place from September 26th to October 31st weekly on Saturdays at 10am Pacific
Location: ONLINE via Google Hangout
Price: $450 + service fee
Registration begins: August 26th, 2015

Writers know that it’s important to write about characters whose gender, sexual orientation, religion, racial heritage, or other aspect of identity differs from their own. But many are afraid to do so for fear that they will get it wrong–horribly, offensively wrong–and think it is better not even to try.

In truth, as author Daniel Jose Older puts it, when writers create characters from backgrounds different than their own, they are really telling the deeper story of their own perception. It is possible to write the Other sensitively and convincingly, and this workshop can start you on the path to doing just that.

Drawing on and updating decades-old work by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, authors of the acclaimed reference “Writing the Other: A Practical Approach”, this six week online course delves deep into learning this sometimes tricky skill. Authors Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford will combine lectures, discussions, and writing exercises in a safe, supportive atmosphere.

The class is appropriate for all writers (fiction, plays, comics, screenplays, and games included) from all backgrounds and any skill level.

Miss this class? Sign up for our mailing list to get notifications when we give it again.

Writer Fears About Writing The Other: Here’s How To Get Over It [Updated]

Writer Fears About Writing The Other: Here's How To Get Over It [Updated]

Here’s one of the great circular conundrums of our time:

We need more characters of color/LGBT characters/characters with disabilities/characters that aren’t the default white, able-bodied cis male in commercial literature.

I, a fiction author, am afraid of writing characters of color/ LGBT characters/characters with disabilities/characters that aren’t like me or from my cultural and social understanding because I might get it wrong, and if I get it wrong people will be angry at me and yell and also ruin my career.

I’ve seen and heard writers (mostly white) express some version of that at least a hundred times since RaceFail 09. They point to that discussion or any number of other public Fails since then and go: SEE?! You see? That’s what happens when we try!

There are a few things about this that need addressing. First, large, public Fails actually happen when authors don’t try. Second, the problem is rarely that the author tried and didn’t get it exactly, 100% right. It’s that they failed and then acted like an ass when someone pointed it out to them. Third, avoiding author Fail isn’t as hard as some people make it out to be.

Most importantly, the consequence of being ruled by that fear is that you aren’t helping with the first problem. And if I may be so bold, I think the issue of representation is far, far more important than individual fears of getting it wrong. I also know that it’s hard to tackle that first issue without also addressing the second. Luckily, I have the solution.

You can attend a Writing the Other class, seminar, workshop, or retreat in person or online[1]. You can find upcoming classes on the Writing the Other Tumblr or get notifications about them via this mailing list.

[UPDATE: The retreat mentioned here is over, but there are new classes listed on the Tumblr and on my sidebar under Classes.] Next summer I’m teaching at the Writing the Other workshop/retreat alongside Nisi Shawl, Cynthia Ward, David Anthony Durham, and Mary Robinette Kowal. Tomorrow, registration for this workshop opens up. If you are the type of author who has been held back from addressing the issue of representation in SF by fear that you’ll get it wrong, this workshop will give you tools to help you get it right. There’s no guarantee that you will always, 100% get it right if you attend this workshop. I am confident that at the end of it you won’t be 100% ruled by fear.

Registration opens tomorrow, October 13th, at 12pm Eastern. The workshop fee is $500 and includes meals but does not include accommodations. Click over to the Eventbrite page to see all the details[2].

How many of you will I see there?

 

Footnotes

  1. This section of the post has been edited and updated from the original version.[]
  2. This workshop has come and gone! Join the mailing list to get a notification if we do it again or when we do online classes[]