October 21st, 2007


Some thoughts on writing outside my experience

Recently, and not so recently, I've come across a couple of stories, or had them pointed out to me, within greater fandom, where the history or culture of marginalized groups was employed to make a story more exotic or interesting, with the result the story was offensive.

So I'm trying to think of how one can avoid this. Because on the one hand, I don't think we want stories all about white people in white-land steeped in white-culture, but on the other hand, dipping into someone else's culture for shiny colours to dab on one's story is problematic.

These are some guidelines I've tentatively put together for my own use. I'm indebted to many people on my friendslist for helping to articulate this, for challenging my assumptions, and for pointing out things I've overlooked. I'd appreciate anyone's critique or suggestions.
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