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Writing the Other:  The Practical Approach

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Writing the Other: The Practical Approach

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Author: Nisi Shawl
Cynthia Ward
Publisher: Aqueduct Press, 2005
Series: Conversation Pieces: Book 8

1. The Grand Conversation
2. With Her Body
3. Changeling
4. Counting on Wildflowers
5. The Traveling Tide
6. The Adventures of the Faithful Counselor
7. Ordinary People
8. Writing the Other
9. Alien Bootlegger
10. The Red Rose Rages (Bleeding)
11. Talking Back
12. Absolute Uncertainty
13. Candle in a Bottle
14. Knots
15. Naomi Mitchison
16. We, Robots
17. Making Love in Madrid
18. Of Love and Other Monsters
19. Aliens of the Heart
20. Voices from Fairyland
21. My Death
22. De Secretis Mulierum
23. Distances
24. Three Observations and a Dialogue
25. The Buonarotti Quartet
26. Slightly Behind and to the Left
27. Through the Drowsy Dark
28. Shotgun Lullabies
29. A Brood of Foxes
30. The Bone Spindle
31. The Last Letter
32. We Wuz Pushed
33. The Receptionist and Other Tales
34. Birds and Birthdays
35. The Queen, the Cambion, and Seven Others
36. Spring in Geneva
37. The XY Conspiracy
39. Myths, Metaphors, and Science Fiction
40. NoFood
41. The Haunted Girl
42. Three Songs for Roxy
43. Ghost Signs
44. The Prince of the Aquamarines
45. Back, Belly, and Side
46. A Day in Deep Freeze
47. A Field Guide to the Spirits
48. Marginalia to Stone Bird
49. Unpronounceable
50. Sleeping Under the Tree of Life
51. Other Places
52. Monteverde
53. The Adventure of the Incognita Countess
54. Boundaries, Border Crossings, and Reinventing the Future
55. Liberating the Astronauts
56. In Search of Lost Time
58. Helen's Story
59. Liminal Spaces
60. Feed Me the Bones of Our Saints
61. If Not Skin
62. The Adventure of the Dux Bellorum
65. The Green and Growing
69. The Rampant
70. Mary Shelley Makes a Monster
72. City of a Thousand Feelings
73. The Adventure of the Naked Guide
75. Sacred Summer

Book Type: Non-Fiction
Genre: Science-Fiction
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Synopsis

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." Writing the Other: A Practical Approach is the manual that grew out of their workshop. It discusses basic aspects of characterization and offers elementary techniques, practical exercises, and examples for helping writers create richer and more accurate characters with "differences."

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