Writing the Other

From Aqueduct Press, a writing book by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, which grew out of their workshop of the same name. A bargain at only $9! Editorial material:


During the 1992 Clarion West Writers Workshop attended by Nisi Shawl and
Cynthia Ward, one of the students expressed the opinion that it is a
mistake to write about people of ethnic backgrounds different from your own
because you might get it wrong, horribly, offensively wrong, and so it is
better not even to try. This opinion, commonplace among published as well
as aspiring writers, struck Nisi as taking the easy way out and spurred her
to write an essay addressing the problem of how to write about characters
marked by racial and ethnic differences. In the course of writing the
essay, however, she realized that similar problems arise when writers try
to create characters whose gender, sexual preference, and age differ
significantly from their own. Nisi and Cynthia collaborated to develop a
workshop that addresses these problems with the aim of both increasing
writers’ skill and sensitivity in portraying difference in their fiction
as well as allaying their anxieties about "getting it wrong."

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