K. Tempest Bradford

K. Tempest Bradford

Between Boundaries

K. Tempest Bradford RSS Feed
 
 
 
 

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

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

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 speculative literature.

I, a speculative 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.

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.

How many of you will I see there?

2 Comments

  1. Lenora Rose Lenora Rose on 12.10.2013 at 18:57 [link] (Reply)

    I and at least one other writer friend have been drooling over this workshop. I don’t know if either of us will scrape together the means or logistics this year, but if we can’t it won’t be for lack of wishing.

    And WORD on the fact that most of the racial FAIL has come not from the screw-up in prose itself but in the response when it’s pointed out.

  2. […] Writer Fears About Writing The Other: Here’s How To Get Over It | K. Tempest Bradford: “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.” […]

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Social Studies

TumblrTumblr – Come see the inside of my fandom brain

TwitterTwitter – Intermittent rambling, links, and what I just ate

FacebookFacebook – A nexus of me, yet strangely impersonal

Google+Google+ – Another nexus of me for Google Geeks

DeliciousDelicious – A wild collection of links, mostly of fiction

goodreadsGoodReads – The books I’m reading and the ones I’m in

FlickrFlickr - Photographic evidence of a few of my exploits

LiveJournalLiveJournal – A mirror of this blog, nothing more

Recent Posts

Blog Archive

Categories

Random Shoes

An ever-changing list of the authors, bloggers and awesome people I know and admire

Vitae

I'm a writer, most often committing acts of genre (fantasy, science fiction, and other stretches of the imagination). You can find my short stories in many and various magazines and anthologies and podcasts. In addition to being a writer I also engage in activism and fandom -- often both at once.

Meta